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  • Online course platforms

  • Chris Chippendale

    Member
    August 24, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Hi, very new to online courses, the LAB, and web design / marketing in general, so sorry if this is a stupid question.

    I’m looking at starting a consulting website, but also creating online courses in the future, as well as membership options. How straight forward is it to design my own site for that, vs using another platform?

    I spoke to a web design company who seem like they could do a good job with my website but the platform isn’t great for courses, but suggested I use a course platform like teachable / udemy etc. However I’m not keen on hosting it on another website. Ideally I want my own site running everything.

    Do I just have to do this myself with WordPress?

  • David Risley

    Administrator
    August 24, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Hey Chris. There are no stupid questions here. 🙂

    My instinct would definitely be to do this yourself with WordPress. You can build it however you want… and you don’t necessarily need to hire anybody to do it. WordPress has so many solutions for it that work nicely “out of the box”.

    Also, I can help you through it. Either just by answering questions here inside the LAB, or (optionally) we have tech services here where we can get in there and do some of it for you. But, my interest is always to use as many “out of box” solutions as possible so you’re never reliant on anybody. And, honestly, you could likely buy everything you need and still be significantly cheaper than any web design company. By a long shot.

    So, if it seems daunting… don’t worry. It really isn’t. 🙂

  • Rick Wilkes

    Member
    August 24, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Would you like to share what your consulting website will be about?

    My business preferences are compatible with what David said (why I am here to share and learn from him!) I believe in the power of owning your own platform. There are parts that outsourcing makes sense to do, the tool stack so to speak,

    When a content creator goes with udemy / teachable they join (I feel) a marketplace that does potentially bring in eyeballs and leads but it isn’t yours. Your pricing will be harder to differentiate compared to others with similar offerings. It’s harder to track the leads and their activities in your world and with your mailings.

    Are you just teaching courses or also wanting to offer higher end consulting to people who take your courses?

    Rick

  • Chris Chippendale

    Member
    August 24, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks guys, appreciate the replies. Good to know @Dave , if it feels overwhelming I’ll reach out. Just so I’m clear, the guy I was talking to was going to host my site on his platform – is WordPress just another platform? And are there other alternatives to WordPress you suggest I look at? Don’t want to just dive into the first one I see (I did that with Squarespace, and whilst it’s a nice site it won’t do what I need it to now)

    @rickthrivingnow-com I help manual therapy practitioners (mainly chiropractors, but also osteopaths and physiotherapists) improve their communication skills and patient experience. So far it’s been through live seminars, but that’s obviously a no-go for now. I’ve wanted to create online courses for a while, and this has given me the kick up the backside to actually work on it. I also plan to do some higher end bespoke consulting with practice owners, but want to focus on getting a passive income stream going first with courses.

    You make a good point re: Udemy, it’s an incredibly niche market so I’m aware that there’s not much use in a shotgun approach. I also feel it might undervalue the course somehow, and don’t like that I’m not in control of pricing. I was considering starting there and moving over to my own platform once I get going, but then it’s just more hassle for me and current customers. I hadn’t even thought about tracking leads etc though!

  • David Risley

    Administrator
    August 24, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    My gut says avoid that guy. Almost every time I’ve heard of a web developer saying to avoid WordPress AND they want to host you, that usually means they want you to be dependent on them and they’re taking advantage of your lack of knowledge.

    I’m a big believer in being able to control your own site. It is too important of an asset to be stuck paying some developer who has you by the balls.

    I don’t recommend anything other than WordPress. Yes, it is ultimately just a platform. But, a platform that powers a significant portion of the internet and has a HUGE community surrounding it. It isn’t some proprietary thing. So, I recommend nothing else.

  • Deborah Savadra

    Member
    August 24, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Count me in as a “ditto” to owning your platform. Teachable, Kajabi, etc., may be great from the standpoint of having a shorter initial learning curve, but I see more and more people who START there moving AWAY from them onto self-hosted solutions as their courses mature. Must be a reason for that.

    I’m thankful that, from day 1, I insisted on installing courseware on my own site, rolling up my sleeves and figuring it all out. I’ve switched courseware platforms once, but I’ve never regretted owning my own platform. It’s work, and occasionally various plugins don’t play nicely with one another, but I think it’s the way to go.

  • Rick Wilkes

    Member
    August 24, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    Chris, there are very few platforms I’d ever recommend to people. I don’t know what platform your developer was recommending, but as both a consultant myself AND a coach helping people with emotional freedom… I live in both worlds (by choice). My technology client I always want to make sure someone (like a David or others) could jump in and help her if I was sick or dead or just didn’t want to do the work anymore. I believe that as David mentions, there are a LOT of consultants who want control — because it pays!

    I don’t know your budget, but if I were in your shoes I would pay for consulting time with David to help scope out a system that could get you going with your courses. And whether David or someone else does the initial configuration, I am a believer that content producers should know their tools well enough to be able to post and modify content at least. Yes, it is a cost of doing business and if you really don’t like doing that kind of thing than you REALLY will want a platform that you can easily hire someone else into to do the work.

    I also want to say something about “passive income.” It always worries me a bit. Online course creation and execution are seldom “passive.” We’re building relationships and honestly I believe in this time period it is the personal not the passive that will gain long term customers. I’d certainly not be HERE if David was just offering his course library passively, as comprehensive as it is.

    In my survey of clients, yes, most will engage “passively” yet they want to know I am there and can and will respond to them. That I *want* to engage. *want* to see them succeed and be a part of that.

    Rick

  • Chris Chippendale

    Member
    August 25, 2020 at 3:31 am

    Thanks Rick – haven’t got much of a budget atm but I’ll definitely bear that in mind for when I start to grow. And that’s a good point about knowing the tools well enough. I suppose it’s always easier to try myself and then hire help, than to hire help and then now know how to make changes..

    re: “passive income”, totally agree about building relationships. It’s a bit of an unfortunate term – I merely meant an income where I’m not directly selling my time. I’m busy in a full time job atm (which I love), and I’m not looking to leave that or start making the same money through consulting. Right now my goal would is to supplement my main income, and then down the line get some occasional high value clients for boutique consulting. I’ve been working to build my network the last couple of years already, but plan to invest even more effort in that now that I’m stepping up my game.

    I definitely don’t want to sell products where they feel like they’re on their own. Just as long as I’m not tying myself into a model where I’m only selling my time.

    Thanks again for the advice, really helped clarify things for me!

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